Sharing music has always been its own language of love. Since the 70s, people have been making mixtapes as a gift to one another, speaking volumes more than what one could simply say. These days, people offer their time and care to create playlists for those close to them, near-strangers, exes and lovers alike. A mixtape is made up of lyrics, melodies, and an order of songs all blended with intention to communicate something to whomever is listening. This can be an act of confession, of memory, or of simply sharing new music you think they would like. It pays off for the person gifted the mix, but it is also a fun activity for whoever is making it. One gets to think creatively and thoughtfully, with a pleasant result that can be enjoyed over and over again. Here are some tips and tricks on how to best minister a repertoire of songs to hand to somebody on your mind, touching on various musical occasions.
“Grandma doesn’t know how to use Spotify!”
In the digital age, it is not uncommon for older relatives to reach out to their Gen-Z loved ones for the musical hookup. And you should always respect your elders! Especially when it means you can introduce your Dad to Phoebe Bridgers mixed in with the Talking Heads he loves. Recognizing and touching on the different generations of music is important when making a playlist for someone of exactly that, a different generation. Begin the playlist with artists you know they have loved for many years, but try to include some of their discography the person may be less familiar with. This allows them to have their favorites at hand, but still feel like they’re discovering something new within the music they’re comfortable with. For example, if your aunt loves Rickie Lee Jones, feature some of the multiple versions she has recorded of her iconic tracks, such as “On Saturday Afternoons in 1963 – 45 Version.” Then, look for some current artists they would not have had exposure to, but reflect some similar tastes and sounds as those they like. In fact, “Seize The Day (feat. Phoebe Briders),” by Paul McCartney, is a prime recommendation to blend the classic with the new. “I’ll Be Holding,” by Miel, has a tinge more of a quick, current pop sound. However, the airy, running lines reminisce of the floaty melody of “Rhiannon,” by Fleetwood Mac. It is astounding to see someone who overlooks the songwriting of today take the time to listen and end up finding years and years of themselves within it.
“I love your taste in music, do you have any recommendations?”
Nothing fills the heart with joy like being asked to show someone your music. It’s a sign of respect, establishing a connection by further exploring a common interest. When making a playlist of recommendations, start with a few songs you have in common with the person you’re making it for. This familiarizes the playlist as being from you, and sets a baseline for some of the tastes you’ll be influenced by with your recommendations. Then, look for songs that you enjoy and feel would fit the other person’s taste as well. For example, if you bond over showing them “New York City” by Adrienne Lenker and Buck Meek, you may recommend for them to listen to your favorite tracks off of Hours Were The Birds by Adrienne Lenker or find some Big Thief songs with the same plucky, oscillating melancholy as the song that first brought you together. It can be hard to find the gems of an artist with an extensive discography, and easing this process for a new or old friend is sure to make their day.
“This song makes me think of you…”
When you’ve got an infatuation, they seem to find themselves on your mind with every song you listen to. It’s no wonder, then, that love songs are valentines, time and time again. You can start it off with your song from times together, or fill it with tracks that say this could be us. Love mixtapes are done best when trickled with classic lovesick tunes such as “I Was Made For Loving You,” by KISS, or timeless ballads like “I’m Your Baby Tonight” by Whitney Houston. These communicate something long lasting, as love has been cherished within these specific songs for so many years, never losing their accurate depiction of the heart. Then, try out some lyrically focused work that says, with metaphor and melody, exactly what you feel, like the songwriting mastery of Tomberlin on Projections. There’s something fun about the cryptic side to a crush playlist, listening to the songs and picturing what they pictured to remind them of you. “The Dress,” by Dijon, is a perfect example of flattery and seduction in a romantic playlist, a world of compliments rolled into the song itself, backed by the fact that you intentionally put it on there. Take after “i always had a thing for you” or “so into you” by BETWEEN FRIENDS: when done correctly, music can be your biggest flirtation device.
I watch myself undress and I pretend that it’s for you
Talking to myself and hoping that I’ll turn around and see you
Check out some of our playlists below for some inspiration, and try out making someone you love a playlist this fall!